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                                                  Calendar No. 609

116th Congress}                                           { Report
                                 SENATE
  2d Session  }                                           { 116-309

======================================================================
 
 TO AMEND THE AMERICA'S WATER INFRASTRUCTURE ACT OF 2018 TO EXPAND THE 
   INDIAN RESERVATION DRINKING WATER PROGRAM, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                December 9, 2020.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

           Mr. Hoeven, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 3044]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 3044), to amend the America's Water Infrastructure Act 
of 2018 to expand the Indian reservation drinking water 
program, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment (in the nature of a 
substitute) and recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 3044 is to expand a program to carry-out 
projects that connect, expand, or repair existing public water 
systems or improve water quality, water pressure, or water 
services on reservations in the Upper Missouri River Basin and 
Upper Rio Grande River Basin.
    Section 2001 of the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 
2018 (P.L. 115-270), the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) was 
directed, subject to the availability of appropriations, to 
carry out a program to connect, expand, or repair an existing 
public water system or improve water quality, water pressure, 
or water services, split between projects that serve 
reservations in the Upper Missouri River Basin and the Upper 
Rio Grande River Basin. Section 2001 provides that at least one 
qualifying pilot project for a reservation must be selected 
that serves more than one federally recognized Indian tribe. 
The program was authorized for $20 million in each fiscal years 
2019 through 2022, but it has not received any appropriations 
to date.
    S. 3044 expands the number of eligible projects under 
current law to include 10 projects in the Columbia River Basin. 
Currently the program covers 20 projects, split evenly between 
the Upper Missouri River Basin and the Upper Rio Grande River 
Basin. The bill allows projects that connect, expand, or repair 
an existing public water system to extend to off-reservation 
sites that serve Indian Tribes (currently limited to on-
reservation projects). The bill permanently extends the 
authorization of appropriations and increases the amount by $10 
million (currently set at $20 million). S. 3044 requires 
eligible projects in the Columbia River Basin to include ``a 
project that serves one or more Tribal communities of federally 
recognized Indian Tribes the Federal recognition of which has 
been terminated and subsequently restored.''

                          NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Tribal communities across the nation continue lack access 
to basic water and wastewater services. The Indian Health 
Service (IHS) identified at least $2.57 billion in estimated 
costs for infrastructure projects to address existing drinking 
water and wastewater infrastructure needs for fiscal year 
2019.\1\ Furthermore, IHS identified 110,552 American Indian 
and Alaska Native (AI/AN) homes as needing some form of 
sanitation facility improvement, 51,784 AI/AN homes without 
access to adequate sanitation facilities, and 6,626 AI/AN homes 
without access to a safe water supply systems and/or sewage 
disposal systems.\2\ The EPA's most recent drinking water 
infrastructure needs survey and assessment estimated the total 
20-year need for tribal water systems to be $3.1 billion.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Indian Health Service et al., Annual Report to the Congress of 
the United States on Sanitation Deficiency Levels for Indian Homes and 
Communities: Fiscal Year 2019 (2019).
    \2\Id.
    \3\Environmental Protection Agency, EPA 816-K-17-002, Drinking 
Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment: Sixth Report to 
Congress (March 2018).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Several federal programs provide assistance and support for 
drinking water and waste water infrastructure to rural 
communities in the U.S. There are approximately 10 programs 
housed in the Departments of the Interior (Bureau of 
Reclamation), Agriculture (Rural Utilities Services), Housing 
and Urban Development (HUD), Commerce (Economic Development 
Administration), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the EPA. The 
EPA, USDA, HUD and Commerce account for 98 percent of the total 
federal funding for drinking water and wastewater capital 
improvements.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\U.S. Gen. Accounting Office, GAO-02-134, Water Infrastructure: 
Information on Federal and State Financial Assistance, 2 (2001).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The EPA administers the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund 
to provide financial assistance to help water systems achieve 
health protection objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act. 
Many of the programs include set-asides for Tribal communities. 
The DWSRF program includes a Tribal Set-Aside of 2 percent from 
EPA's annual appropriations. Federally recognized Indian tribes 
are eligible for grants under the program. Tribes are also 
eligible for $3 million to fund tribal drinking water 
infrastructure projects under the Water Infrastructure 
Improvements for the Nation Act, and the Water Infrastructure 
Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, a federal credit program 
for eligible water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
    Despite the availability of these programs, certain Tribal 
communities continue to lack the resources to finance necessary 
repairs to their water and wastewater infrastructure. According 
to a statement submitted by the Confederated Tribes of Warm 
Springs, three of its four water delivery systems require major 
upgrades or replacement, and the Tribes face a minimum cost of 
$5-6 million to maintain existing systems. The Tribes noted 
that to provide for future improvements to meet the growing 
population, it faces a cost of $40-50 million for water 
infrastructure. S. 3044 aims to target Tribal communities in 
need of water and wastewater infrastructure assistance by 
prioritizing projects that respond to emergency situations 
where lack of access to clean drinking water threatens the 
health of Tribal populations.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 3044 was introduced on December 12, 2019 by Senator 
Wyden and Senator Merkley. The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Indian Affairs. On June 24, 2020, the Committee 
held a legislative hearing on S. 3044. The Committee received a 
statement for the record from the EPA, which provided technical 
assistance comments but did not take an official position on S. 
3044. On July 29, 2020, the Committee met at a duly called 
business meeting to consider the bill. An amendment, in the 
nature of a substitute, was filed by Senator Udall, on behalf 
of Senator Wyden. The amendment, MAZ20559, was adopted by voice 
vote. The bill was ordered to be reported favorably, as 
amended, to the Senate by voice vote, with Senator Lankford 
recorded as voting no. Senator Lankford has concerns the bill 
lacks any sunset provisions.
    Amendment. The amendment, MAZ20559, broadened the 
geographical scope of the area within the Columbia River Basin 
under which Tribes are eligible for funding to include Tribes 
in Washington, and created a priority for projects that respond 
to emergency situations where lack of access to clean drinking 
water threatens the health of Tribal populations.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1--Short title

    This section states that the bill may be cited as the 
``Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act of 2019''.

Section 2--Indian reservation drinking water program

    Section 2 amends the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 
2019 to add 10 eligible projects that connect, expand, or 
repair an existing public water system or improve water 
quality, water pressure, or water services and are within the 
Columbia River Basin or a coastal basin adjacent to the 
Columbia River. Section 2 expands the authorization to include 
projects that serve an off-reservation site that serves an 
Indian Tribe. Section 3 requires the Administrator of the EPA 
to select not less than one project that serves one or more 
Tribal communities that has been terminated and subsequently 
restored. Section 3 permanently authorizes the program at $30 
million, starting in fiscal year 2020.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, November 5, 2020.
Hon. John Hoeven,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 3044, the Western 
Tribal Water Infrastructure Act of 2020.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Stephen 
Rabent.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    Under current law, the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) is directed to carry out a program that funds projects to 
connect, expand, or repair public water systems in order to 
improve water quality, pressure, or services on Indian 
reservations within the Upper Missouri River Basin and Upper 
Rio Grande Basin. Over the 2019-2022 period, $20 million 
annually is authorized to be appropriated for that purpose; 
however, no funds have been appropriated to date.
    S. 3044 would expand that program to include projects on 
off-reservation sites that serve Indian Tribes, and it would 
direct EPA to carry out 10 additional projects within the 
Columbia River Basin. The bill would require EPA to fund 100 
percent of project costs. Finally, the bill would permanently 
authorize the appropriation of $30 million annually for the 
program.
    Using information from EPA, CBO estimates that implementing 
the program would cost $62 million over the 2021-2025 period 
for qualifying projects. CBO expects that the funds authorized 
under S. 3044 would be used entirely to fund projects and not 
for administrative costs. EPA also would incur administrative 
costs for establishing and operating the program. Using 
information from EPA about the resources required to operate 
similar programs, CBO estimates that implementing the bill 
would require about four additional employees and would cost an 
additional $2 million over the 2021-2025 period. The costs of 
the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget 
function 300 (natural resources and environment).

                TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER S. 3044
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
                                                                2021    2022    2023    2024    2025   2021-2025
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Indian Reservation Drinking Water Program:
    Authorization............................................      10      10      30      30      30       110
    Estimated Outlays........................................       1       5      10      20      26        62
EPA Administration:
    Estimated Authorization..................................       *       *       1       1       1         3
    Estimated Outlays........................................       *       *       *       1       1         2
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization..............................      10      10      31      31      31       113
        Estimated Outlays....................................       1       5      10      21      27        64
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* = between zero and $500,000.

    On October 19, 2020, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
3590, the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, as 
reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public 
Works on May 11, 2020. S. 3590 contains provisions similar to 
those in S. 3044; however, S. 3590 would increase the 
authorization of appropriations for the program to improve 
drinking water on Indian reservations to $50 million over the 
2021-2024 period. CBO's estimates of the budgetary effects of 
the similar provisions reflect those differences in the 
authorized amounts.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Stephen Rabent. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Director of Budget Analysis.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee did not receive any Executive communications 
on this bill.

               REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 3044 will 
have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    On February 6, 2019, the Committee unanimously approved a 
motion to waive subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate. In the opinion of the Committee, it is 
necessary to dispense with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate to expedite the business of the 
Senate.

                                  [all]